Classroom of the Elite Volume 12 Chapter 5 Part 3
TL: Graze and Hina
ED: PuffyPyjamas/Josh/Silent Death/o-montoya
From the moment we stepped foot into the library, I noticed that it was shrouded in a completely different atmosphere compared to the other day. Many students, both first and second-years, were gathered inside, notebooks and tablets spread out before them as they participated in what appeared to be various different study groups.
It seemed most students hadn’t grown complacent after finding a partner, instead, they had begun taking action right away.
For some reason, I was reminded of back when our class held a study session here a year ago.
“Well this is a bit troubling. There are more people here than before, so we might stand out a bit.”
“Let’s just try to blend in then.”
Fortunately, the seats we used yesterday at the back of the library were still available.
Since it wouldn’t have been strange if the seats were occupied, I turned and looked over at a certain someone elsewhere in the library.
It wasn’t long before Hiyori noticed my gaze and waved at me with a gentle smile on her face as she approached us.
“I thought that Ayanokōji-kun and Horikita-san would surely visit today as well, so I made a special request and had these seats reserved for you.”
“Are you sure that’s fine?”
“It would be a different story if the library was close to maximum capacity, but there’s no need to worry about that.”
Given the size of the library, there was plenty of space for everyone. Nonetheless, I appreciated her consideration.
“Please go ahead, feel free to take all the time you need to discuss.”
With that, Hiyori left, not particularly interested in lingering around any further.
“She’s awfully kind, isn’t she? Do you think she overheard our conversation yesterday?”
“It’s hard to say. I think it’d be difficult given the distance though.”
We sat in the same seats as yesterday, as they had been expressly left open for us.
And then, we took out all of our study materials from our bags and began acting like we were there to study.
However, no matter how long we waited, Nanase never showed up.
“Nanase-san. She’s late.”
The meeting time was supposed to be after school at 4:30, but it was already past 5:00.
I had sent her multiple messages by now, but it seemed like she hadn’t read any of them yet. At this rate we might have to personally go and check up on her, though that in itself would be tricky since we didn’t know her current location.
“Should we go take a look in the first-year classrooms for the time being…?”
Just as we were about to go look for her, Nanase showed up at the entrance to the library, seemingly flustered.
Once she noticed where we were, she approached our table, visibly out of breath.
“I-I apologize. I’ve kept you waiting for quite some time…!”
“It’s fine. I was just worried that something might’ve happened to you along the way.”
“I was busy negotiating with Hōsen-kun, trying to get him to come along with me somehow.”
“Is that so… It doesn’t look like there’s been much progress on that front.”
Given that she had come alone, it didn’t seem like anybody else would be joining us.
“That said, he didn’t stop you from coming to talk with us today?”
“He did not. He probably doesn’t think that anything will be finalized without him.”
No matter how much Nanase may try on her own, Hōsen had the final say.
Given his confidence, he probably couldn’t care less about micromanaging every little thing Nanase wanted to do.
“It seems that we have no choice but to force him to meet up with us after all.”
“I already understand that things won’t be resolved easily. But unless we discuss this in person, we’ll just keep beating around the bush forever.”
That seemed like the last thing Horikita wanted to do without further preparation.
“That is certainly so… But…”
Nanase’s words trailed off as she seemed somewhat hesitant about something, but she quickly made up her mind and continued.
“Horikita-senpai wants to build an equal, collaborative relationship with Class 1-D no matter what it takes, right? Or am I misunderstanding something?”
“Yes. That’s exactly right.”
“Then… might I get you to hear out a proposal of mine?”
From the sound of it, Nanase had come here with a few ideas of her own.
“Even if I were to suggest to Hōsen-kun that we enter into an equal, collaborative relationship, it’s clear that I would end up being rejected. I think it would be the same even if Horikita-senpai were to meet up with him personally. That being the case, how about you and I proceed with negotiations in secret?”
“Proceed with negotiations in secret? But your classmates wouldn’t just obey without Hōsen-kun’s permission, would they?”
“Yes. However, that’s because I have yet to come forward as a leader.”
With that, Nanase presented us with an unexpected proposal.
“I have judged that my class will not survive for much longer if we continue with Hōsen-kun’s way of doing things. So, it is my hope that I become the leader of Class-D before his dangerous ideals become instilled in the class’s mindset. And, as a stepping stone for that, I’d like to form a relationship with Class 2-D.”
Both Horikita and I had never expected that she would propose something like this.
A tale of how Nanase Tsubasa would defeat Hōsen and become the leader of Class 1-D.
If that happened, Horikita’s goal of establishing an equal, collaborative relationship suddenly wouldn’t be that far off anymore.
“We don’t have the basis to judge which one of you is better suited to be leader. Either way, the only thing I can say for sure is that we’re running out of time.”
With the special exam fast approaching, we simply couldn’t afford to get involved in a fight over leadership right now.
“Many of my classmates don’t approve of Hōsen-kun’s way of doing things. In fact, after bringing it up these last few days, I’ve managed to get seven of them to agree to help me.”
“And that’s not just students with low Academic Ability ratings?”
“Yes. Of those seven students who are willing to negotiate, three have Academic Ability ratings of a B- or higher.”
Horikita pondered over this for a moment. Three people was by no means perfect, but if that number were to increase just a bit further, forming a collaborative relationship with Nanase as the focal point might not be the worst idea after all.
“Wouldn’t it be problematic if Hōsen-kun realizes what we’re doing?”
“Needless to say, that would be a disaster. That’s why we’d have to keep everything secret from now until the deadline for choosing our partners on the day of the exam. If we submit the applications at the very last minute, he won’t notice anything.”
“But then it’d be difficult to win over the students who can study, wouldn’t it?”
There was no changing the fact that the students with high Academic Ability ratings wanted to receive private points as compensation.
“Our class will help compensate you for that. Those of us who aren’t very good at studying will get to avoid the three-month penalty thanks to you and your classmates. In other words, they’ll have three months’ worth of points to help supplement your losses. That way, even if you pay 200,000 points to help win over these students, you’ll ultimately end up getting your money back. Although it would be for far less than the 500,000 points per person that Hōsen-kun is after, it should still be within the scope that my classmates would find acceptable.”
In short, this meant that they would be cleaning up their own mess.
Originally, we were the ones who had to entice the honor students with points, but with this strategy, the less capable Class 1-D students would be the ones using their funds to help entice their peers.
“This way, we won’t cause any problems for you and your class. Of course, Hōsen-kun will get angry once he learns of what we’ve done, but I will take full responsibility so that no harm befalls those who have lent a hand. What do you think?”
“That’s… No matter how much you want to become your class’s leader, wouldn’t this proposal place far too much of a burden on you?”
“It’s fine. You’ve gone through the trouble of extending a helping hand, so I don’t want to lose out on the trust you’ve shown or the opportunity you’ve presented me with.”
Nanase seemed to be saying that it was a cheap price to pay if it meant that her classmates would be saved.
“Besides, even if I’m not recognized as my class’s leader, at least I’ll have helped your class in this exam.”
If you only considered the immediate profits, then Nanase’s proposal was by no means unattractive.
I found myself wondering how Horikita would respond to it.
“Thanks to this, I’m now absolutely certain that I want to have a collaborative relationship with Class 1-D.”
“So, does that mean that you’re okay with my proposal?”
“No. I can’t take you up on your proposal.”
“But there’s no other way…”
“All of Class 1-D’s problems will be solved if you could just get Hōsen-kun onto your side. I don’t think you actually want to be your class’s leader; You just don’t like the way Hōsen-kun is doing things, do you? That being the case, if Hōsen agrees to negotiate, there should be plenty of students willing to pair up, right?”
“That’s… well, yes. I’m sure of it.”
“Plus, if you and Hōsen-kun are in conflict with each other, it’s possible that Class 1-D will be split into two instead of being united as one. There’s no way I’d let that happen. So, how about you let me help you change his mind instead?”
Apparently, this conversation with Nanase had caused Horikita to realize something as well.
That, as long as we can get through Hōsen, the rest of our problems would be solved.
“It’s a risky gamble. If we fail, it may not be possible for Class 1-D and Class 2-D to work together in the future.”
“I’m prepared for that… Well, that’s not true. I think there’s a good chance that our classes can work together. And that’s not just me, I’m sure that Hōsen-kun is thinking the same thing.”
“Even though he was so rude to you over the phone yesterday?”
“I’ll just tell myself that he was being tsundere. At least for now.”
Having understood what Horikita was trying to say, Nanase nodded in agreement.
“I was right to make time to meet with Horikita-senpai and Ayanokōji-senpai again today. It seems my hunch wasn’t incorrect after all.”
“What do you mean by that? I rejected your proposal, didn’t I?”
“No, you didn’t reject anything. You and I have been on the same page since the very beginning.”
“That… Does that mean you were thinking of trying to persuade him this whole time as well?”
Apparently, the proposal Nanase had put forward about becoming her class’s leader had been a test of sorts.
She had given Horikita the choice to slight the future of Class 1-D in favor of short-term profit. If Horikita had taken her up on the offer, she wouldn’t have been willing to collaborate with us any further.
“Just as Horikita-senpai said earlier, we’re running out of time. We can’t move forward without getting the two of you in the same room together, even if it means we have to force the matter. Could you give me some time so I can get everything in order for the two of you to meet? I’ll definitely bring Hōsen-kun before you by Sunday, the day after tomorrow.”
It didn’t seem like Nanase was testing us this time, given how earnestly she lowered her head to Horikita.
By waiting until Sunday, the amount of time we had left would naturally decrease by that much more.
Due to this, Horikita turned and looked at me, her eyes hesitantly seeking confirmation.
Thinking that there was nothing wrong with taking a risk, I nodded to her in response, and with that, the hesitation in her eyes vanished.
“I believe you. I’ll look forward to meeting with Hōsen-kun on Sunday, the day after tomorrow.”
“Yes… Absolutely. However, I’d like to avoid meeting in a public place as much as possible. After all, Hōsen-kun may act rather reckless depending on the circumstances.”
“Alright. Then how about we rent a Karaoke room? I’m also fine with meeting up at night sometime if that’s more convenient for him.”
Indeed, meeting in the dead of night on a Sunday would substantially reduce the risk of being seen by others.
“I understand. I’ll make sure he knows.”
Just as the conversation was beginning to come together, Horikita’s cell phone vibrated.
After looking over the message she had received, she let out a sigh.
“The study session. It seems like they’re short on hands since I’m not there.”
Before I realized it, it was already 5:30.
“I think we’ve just about wrapped up this conversation. Could I ask that you take care of the rest, Ayanokōji-kun?”
After a light bow to Nanase, Horikita quickly gathered up her things and left for the study session.
Horikita was responsible for supporting the entire class, and as such, was always tasked with moving about everywhere.
“Horikita-senpai is quite busy.”
“That’s what it takes to lead a class.”
“I hope I can be an amazing student like her a year from now…”
“Horikita didn’t ask about this in detail, but what do you plan on saying to lure Hōsen out?”
“That… Well, while I don’t mind answering that for you, why don’t you tell me about yourself first, Ayanokōji-senpai?”
The sun was beginning to set for the day, dying the world outside a brilliant shade of orange.
“Horikita-senpai is the leader of your class, but you’re different, aren’t you?”
I see. Nanase wasn’t sure if it was appropriate for me to be here or not.
If I said that Horikita was just forcing me to come along with her, that’d probably be enough to shut her up.
“Senpai… What kind of person are you?”
When I didn’t answer, Nanase propped her arm up on the table so as to hide part of her face.
It seemed like somewhat of a defensive posture, done so as to prevent anyone other than me from seeing her mouth and eyes.
“Won’t you answer?”
“It doesn’t seem like you’re looking to ask me about my relationship with Horikita, are you?”
It was something different than that. She was looking to ask about what kind of human being I was.
“Yes. I suspect that Ayanokōji-senpai may be a wicked, dirty person. At least, that’s what I think.”
Her words were both intense and direct. Though, despite that, Nanase was looking at me with eyes full of honesty and confidence. I wasn’t sure what I had done to make her look at me that way. Given all of our interactions so far, she couldn’t have been able to find out very much about me. While she and I weren’t the most compatible, I couldn’t remember saying anything that would warrant her calling me ‘wicked’. Nanase Tsubasa may in fact be the enforcer who I’ve been looking for.
There was a reason why I suspected this.
Even though my expulsion was the primary objective for the White Room student, there would probably be more to it for them than that. They would surely look to make contact with me up close, interested in observing the human being known as Ayanokōji Kiyotaka. At least, that’s how I saw it. They weren’t merely interested in my expulsion; They wanted to prove that they were better than me. If they didn’t, ‘that man’ would never approve of them.
This was probably the thought process I would have if I was the one tasked with expelling the person known as Ayanokōji Kiyotaka. However, for someone supposedly from the White Room, her words felt a bit out-of-place.
“When I’m with you like this, Ayanokōji-senpai seems like an ordinary person to me.”
“By that, are you saying that you normally see me as an unordinary person?”
“…No. That’s not it.”
Although Nanase denied it, I found myself wondering if that was what she truly thought.
I had met with Nanase a total of four times now, and I had noticed that strange look of hers each time. It seemed as though I was just about to find out where she had come from, but I could feel my chance to pry deeper slip away from me.
“I’m sorry, please forget I ever asked. The most important thing right now is figuring out how our classes can cooperate with each other.”
Together, we rose up from our seats and turned to leave the library.
As we dispersed, I remembered that there was something I wanted to ask of her.
“Come to think of it, back when we first met, you said that you’d only lose out on 240,000 private points if you lost three months worth of points. Why was that?”
By now, Nanase’s expression had gone back to usual, without even a trace of how it had been only moments earlier.
“Why, you ask? I simply calculated that, as long as our class maintained the 800 class points given to us upon enrollment for three months, one person would end up with 240,000 points…”
Nanase responded as if bewildered that I had even asked.
Apparently, this new batch of first-years had started out with a different sum of class points than we had.
“The number of class points we were given at the beginning of last year was 1000.”
“Eh? So you’re saying that there’s a 200 point difference then?”
“That seems to be the case. I wonder what it’s like for Class 1-A and 1-B?”
“I believe they have 800 points as well. At least, that’s how Shiba-sensei explained it to us.”
Why was there no official notice though? I would think that it would feel somewhat unfair if they found out that they were given fewer class points than in previous years. Was it because 80,000 points a month was still quite a lot, so the school didn’t think it mattered very much? No, if that was the case, the school would have notified them of that from the start. It would’ve made more sense for the school to come clean about it to the students rather than try to hide it and give them a reason to be dissatisfied later.
There were probably several other things different from last year that I still didn’t know about.
“You know that your lifestyle has an influence on your class points, right?”
Back when Shiba-sensei, the homeroom teacher of Class 1-D, broke up the conflict in front of the second-year classrooms, he had mentioned something related to that, saying: ‘I’m sure you’ve been hounded on the school’s rules to the point where your ears hurt.’
“Yes. We’ve been told that tardies, absences, and talking during class can all affect our class points.”
Was it possible that the school had lowered the initial amount of class points as compensation for explaining the rules to them at the start of the year? Even if the school tried to hide it, the first-years would’ve probably realized the importance of following the rules due to the Social Contribution category in the OAA app.
Although I could accept this line of reasoning, Nanase seemed to be lost in thought altogether.
Then, she let show an expression that seemed as though she had thought of something, but that disappeared almost immediately.
It was very subtle. Something that I had only noticed because I had met with her so many times over the past several days.
However, since Nanase didn’t seem to want to say anything, I had no interest in asking her about it.
Together, we left the library and, after a while, we arrived at the school’s entrance.
“Well then, Senpai, I’ll take my leave now.”
“Nanase. This isn’t meant as a way of thanking you for telling me about your class points earlier, but have you ever heard about something called a protection point?”
As we were about to part ways, I called out to her and asked her one last question.
“Protection points? No, this is the first I’ve heard of them.”
“It’s a point system where a student who has one can use it to protect themselves from an expulsion. Although, even amongst all of the second-years, only a select few students have one, so it’s not surprising that you didn’t know.”
“I see. That’s good to know… But why are you telling me this?”
“You gave me information. I just thought I should return the favor.”
Saying no more than that, she and I parted ways.
I had decided to test Nanase. To see if she had the skills to make the best use of the information I had given her.
This did in fact happen slower than I had wanted it to. I apologize for that. To make up for it, I’ll definitely have Part 4 posted later today sometime. It shouldn’t take very long.
Anyways, this part was pretty cool I guess. Not many complaints here. I have a bunch of new editors so that happened.
Anyways anyways, V14 comes out on the 24th. I’ll probably be either very close to finished or finished by then. I know the trial reading will come out earlier than that, but I don’t think I’ll have finished V12 by the time it comes out, so I’ll have to work on the volume after the official release. Either way, it shouldn’t be too much of a wait at all. Thanks for reading I’ll see you all again later today.